MHS marches past No. 2 Saints for third straight win

By the time the halftime buzzer sounded Tuesday evening, the Minot High student section, donning bright red attire, roared with echoing chants of “This is our house!”

In their first contest at Magic City Campus in nearly two weeks, the No. 4 Magicians held serve at home, thrashing second-ranked St. Mary’s 85-62.

Junior point guard Dakota Halvorson recorded team highs with 19 points and seven assists as Minot (10-2 overall, 7-2 West Region) reeled off its third straight win and ninth in 10 tries. Junior Noah Bosh and senior Colter Hustad poured in 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Magicians, who shot 54.2 percent from the field.

“Obviously to beat a very, very talented team like St. Mary’s is a nice feather in our cap, but it doesn’t make our season like a loss wouldn’t have broke it,” Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. “We’re happy to be where we are, but we’ve got to go back to work tomorrow and get ready for Belcourt.”

The Saints (10-2, 7-2) went ice cold after nailing their first three 3-point attempts in staking a 9-5 lead. They finished 20-of-53 on field goals (37.7 percent), 10-of-31 from beyond the arc (32.3) and 12-of-23 at the charity stripe (52.2).

After Minot tied it at 9, neither team extended leads past five points until the final minutes of the frame. With the game knotted 29-29, MHS sophomore Ben Bolinske drilled a triple from the left wing 3:35 before halftime that sparked a 19-0 run that spanned 4:47 through the intermission.

“We rebounded well, we pushed and got shots where we wanted them – which was a huge key – and we made good decisions with the ball,” Winczewski said. “We didn’t try to force the ball into places it couldn’t go. We played very soundly.”

Except Minot’s coach was forgetting one thing: “Defense, too,” Halvorson said. “We got stops, which was huge for us.”

The Magicians scored the final 12 points of the first half and the first seven out of the break.

Following a lengthy acrobatics halftime show, Bosh drained a triple with 17:49 to play, Hustad flipped in a bit of a dipsy-do and sophomore Braydon Lund added a layup.

The 7-0 spurt out of the gate put Minot ahead 51-32. The Saints drew within 77-62 in the final minutes, but were held at bay all half.

“I thought it was good because we had to wait for so long for halftime to get going again,” Bosh said of his trey. “It kind of rejuvenated us and the student section, which was amazing tonight.”

St. Mary’s senior guard Darius Sparks scored 15 of his game-high 24 points after halftime. Classmate Ben Weisbeck added 14, but was held well below his 20.6 average. The next highest Saint scorer, Ross Kopp, finished with six.

Meanwhile, nine players scored for Minot, which assisted on 20 of its 32 baskets and committed just 11 turnovers. Jordan Seideman, Bolinske and Lund each chipped in nine points.

“I honestly don’t think our kids care who scores,” Winczewski said. “That’s a unique thing with high school kids. They’re unselfish and they really don’t care. You don’t have to have that one great player or two great players if you have that.”

The last time the Magicians played at Magic City Campus, they were trounced by then-No. 2 Century and trailed by 15 at halftime. Minot proved Tuesday it can play with the state’s elite.

“It always feels better at home,” Bosh said. “You can’t drop games at home in the WDA.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.